On Thursday, the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County will be hosting a fundraiser as it looks for support from the community in helping to provide athletic and academic opportunities for area youths.
Featured guest for the fundraiser will be University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart and former UGA player David Pollack. The pair will take the stage of the Performing Arts Center at Georgia Southern as they take part in a question-and-answer session moderated by the Statesboro Herald’s Josh Aubrey.
“We’re very excited to be able to host this event,” said Boys and Girls Club executive director Mike Jones. “Coach Smart and Pollack have a lot of experience with programs like ours and I think it will be great for the audience to hear their views on how important it is to sustain programs like ours.”
Statesboro will be the latest stop for Smart, who has been on a ‘Speak Up For Kids’ tour. The UGA coach has gotten his team involved in similar causes around the Athens area and is doing his part to raise awareness for the needs of youth all around the state.
Thursday’s event will start at 6 p.m. as the area outside the PAC theater will be filled with silent auction items that will also be used to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club. The theater will open its doors at 6:30 leading up to the Q&A session with Smart and Pollack.
Tickets for the event begin at $100, with balcony seating available for a small additional charge. While slots are available, an additional $75 donation will also provide a ticket holder with a personal photo opportunity with both guests.
Unlike similar events hosted by other Boys and Girls Club locations, all money raised for Thursday’s event will stay in town and directly benefit the day-to-day operations of the local chapter of the club.
With federal subsidies and grants always liable to be available one year and gone the next, the Boys and Girls Club prefers to promote to and benefit from direct donations and support from within the community.
“I hope everyone realizes how much their contributions can help,” Jones said. “A lot of the money we take in goes to providing scholarship assistance to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to pay for the programs we offer.”
Jones cited a price of around $2000 per year for children to take full advantage of the programs offered by the club. Many kids who could benefit most from the programs offered don't have the means to pay for all of the costs, but a steady stream of contributions from the community allows the club to reach out and lend a helping hand.
Similarly, contributions and donations help to do all of the little things, from organizing activities to repairing facilities and making timely updates to equipment.
"Everything we get is appreciated and is put to good use," Jones said. "We appreciate the support of our community and all of their help goes right back into providing the most for our kids."
And while seeing coaches and players linked to UGA in Statesboro might be a call to arms during football season, Thursday’s event is an opportunity for fans, friends and community members alike to rally together for a common cause that will make the academic and athletic futures of local youths brighter.
“Our goal is all about helping to support our kids,” Jones said. “We have upwards of 300 per day and 1,000 different kids per year in our programs. We appreciate the time given by Coach Smart and David and hope that this will be something everyone can get behind.”
For more information on Thursday's event or to purchase tickets, contact the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County at (912) 764-9696.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.